|Charles Bilinda Trust|
The Charles Bilinda Trust was founded by Lesley Bilinda, a Scottish teacher & nurse who married Charles in 1993 having been in the country since 1988.
Lesley was visiting Kenya in April 1994 when the genocide started. Charles, an Anglican pastor was ethnically a Tutsi. Some months later she returned to Rwanda to discover that Charles was arrested and shot. Lesley is the only recorded `white` widow of the genocide.
In December 1994 she launched an educational trust in Charles's memory.
Over the following 17 years over £500,000 was channeled through the trust for the benefit of Rwandans. The most obvious result was the education of Nicholas Hitimana, a Hutu married to a Tustsi, who escaped after 6 weeks during the genocide to Kenya.
The trust funded his advanced education at Edinburgh University and he returned to Rwanda in 2001 with a PhD in agriculture to search for new ways to provide meaningful employment to widows and orphans from both sides of the divide.
This resulted in the formation of Ikirezi Natural Products, a community interest comapny presently providing employment to over 400 people with a business plan to increase that to 1500 over the next three years.
The vision of Ikirezi led to the forming of the Together Partnership in 2007 to link business people in Scotland to young entropreneurs in Rwanda by arranding study tours and practical guidance. Dennis Overton the chair of TTP is a non executive director of Ikirezi.
The CBMT closed in February 2012 and many of its aims and roles have been taken over byTTP. Drawing a time line back to the genocide and the people who were inspired by Lesley, her story recorded in two books, The Colour of Darkness (1996) and With What Remains (2004), we can see that most of the current trusts have their roots in her remarkable story. Today Lesley is trainning to be an Anglican vicar in Oxford.